Four Seasons of Riding with the Cloud City Wheelers

Cloud City Wheelers Justin Talbot

CMC Students in Trail Building and Design class

CMC students supporting Leadville’s cycling community

In Leadville, we spend a lot of time outdoors and on trails. In fact, the extensive trail system that winds and loops around the Cloud City is one of the town’s biggest recreational assets. Whether your crushing dirt while running cross-country or crunching snow on a fat-bike, chances are good that you’ve explored the local trails.

Since 2007 the Cloud City Wheelers, a group of devoted Leadville cyclists, have built and maintained trails in Lake County. In 2009, the Cloud City Wheelers, Colorado Mountain College Leadville and Lake County worked together to construct the Timberline Trail System, a 14-mile network of trails located on Colorado Mountain College and Lake County owned land. During the winter, 10 miles are groomed for winter biking—or according to locals, ‘the best fat biking in Colorado’.

Cloud City Wheelers Justin Talbot
PC: Justin Talbot

“The Cloud City Wheelers are responsible for the grooming of the single track portions of the Timberline Trail System,” says Sterling Mudge, Executive Director of Cloud City Wheelers, “This is done mostly by volunteers with the exception of Wheelers paid staff working on the trails when needed. Grooming is paid for by donations and funding raised from our Winter Mountain Bike Series with a snowmobile donated by Cycles of Life.”

Colorado Mountain College Leadville has built a reputation on its outdoor based programs and hands-on curriculums. Classes like Grooming Operations and Trail Building are ideal opportunities to partner with the community and improve recreation access, while students gain real-world experience.

Groomed Timberline Trails in Leadville photo by Sterling Mudge
Groomed fat biking trails in Leadville. PC: Sterling Mudge

“This year Ski Area Operations students will be installing a snow fence on certain windy sections of the campus trails to alleviate some problem areas,” says Sterling, who graduated from CMC’s Outdoor Recreation Leadership program in 2002.

“A Cloud City Wheelers and  Colorado Mountain College collaboration also resulted in the Boondoggle and Perma Grin trails,” says Cooper Mallozzi, Professor of Outdoor Education and Dean of School of Hospitality, Tourism & Recreation, “They are two beginner trails used weekly during the Family Group Ride on Mondays evenings throughout the riding season.”

Leadville Ranger District representative Tambi Gustafson instructing CMC Leadville outdoor recreation leadership students in Trail building and design class.
Leadville Ranger District representative Tambi Gustafson and Cloud City Wheelers Executive Director Sterling Mudge were both on hand at the Turquoise Lake day to present and instruct the students in Trail Design and Construction class.

More recently, the Trail Design & Construction class worked with the Cloud City Wheelers to flag the recently USFS approved 8 miles of trail at Turquoise Lake. The class learned about sustainable trail construction and participated in a day of trail layout with Leadville Ranger District Representative Tambi Gustafson and Sterling Mudge.

“Construction is slated for 2020,” says Sterling, “Next year will provide a lot of volunteer opportunities for CMC students and other willing bodies to help us build 8 miles of trail at Turquoise Lake.”

Volunteer opportunities aren’t limited to new construction. Throughout the summer Cloud City Wheelers host trail building and maintenance days. Volunteers are encouraged to join. Prior trail building experience is not necessary, as tools and training are provided. Learn more at

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